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What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. An individual suffering from intrusive thoughts can often feel distressed. Intrusive thoughts interfere with the individual’s quality of life and ability to execute regular daily tasks. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, OCD affects 2.2 million adults or 1% of the US population.

OCD has no single cause, but a variety of risk factors can make someone more susceptible to the disorder. Your risk of struggling with OCD is higher due to a family history of OCD, childhood trauma, or chemical imbalances in the brain. OCD is a very common behavioral disorder that leads to recurring thoughts that you may repeat again and again.


Signs and Symptoms of OCD

Obsessive thoughts are a sign of OCD. People with OCD have these thoughts about a variety of subjects. What distresses one person may not affect another. Obsessive thoughts may include fear of germs or dirt, intense stress when things aren't where the individual believes they should be, and unwanted thoughts about acting inappropriately.

Moreover, people with OCD experience compulsions that are usually related to their obsessive thoughts. The compulsions lead people with OCD to perform rituals in hope of relieving the anxiety from the obsessive thoughts. People with OCD feel compelled to complete these rituals even if it negatively impacts their life.


Myths about OCD

There are a number of stereotypes and myths out there when it comes to OCD. One of the most prominent is that someone with OCD is obsessively clean. Simply being neat or organized does not mean one has OCD. While this can describe some people with OCD it doesn't describe everyone with this condition. Other myths include that OCD is the same as being afraid of germs or getting dirty and also that OCD can’t be treated.


Treatment of OCD

While OCD is a chronic mental illness caused by specific changes to the brain, there are treatment options available to try and retrain the brain. 

Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help by increasing the availability of neurotransmitters to help calm your OCD symptoms. Similarly, certain types of psychotherapy can help provide you with support to manage and cope with your symptoms.

Here at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, we recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help control your thoughts and habits. Boston Neurobehavioral Associates provides comprehensive outpatient behavioral health and psychiatric care to all ages. The team of mental health professionals at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates is committed to reducing stigma and improving education about OCD. With the help of dedicated mental health providers at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, you can learn to manage OCD and restore your quality of life. If any of the OCD symptoms mentioned above are affecting you contact Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, now offering psychiatric care in Chicago, Illinois. Book your OCD evaluation by visiting www.bostonneurobehavioral.com or by calling us.

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